Full 2014 BMW 2 Series Review
What's New for 2014
The 2014 BMW 2 Series is an all-new entry-level luxury coupe.
No doubt you've noticed that smaller, more affordable cars are becoming more plentiful in the entry-level luxury vehicle class. The all-new 2014 BMW 2 Series embodies this less-is-more trend, as it's the smallest coupe in BMW's 2014 lineup. Although it's a stretch to call the 2 Series affordable, shoppers seeking an authentic BMW driving experience in a somewhat less expensive package will likely find that this compact rear-wheel-drive coupe fills the bill and then some.
Much of the 2 Series' desirability has to do with its packaging. It's a few inches wider and longer than the 1 Series coupe it replaces, and this translates to small but useful gains in cabin and trunk space. Inside, the BMW 2 Series is every bit as appealing as the larger 4 Series, thanks to a functional, attractive design and high-quality materials. The company's iDrive electronics interface is standard, and as in other BMWs, it offers considerable functionality if you take the time to learn the ropes. Really, the only downside here is the small backseat. Due to limited rear head- and legroom, the 2 Series won't be a top choice for the carpool.
Initially, BMW will offer the 2 Series in two distinct flavors. The base 228i coupe has a strong, turbocharged four-cylinder engine that deftly balances performance and fuel economy. It will satisfy most buyers. However, if you're looking for more of a high-performance coupe, the M235i is a tantalizing proposition with its 320-horsepower turbocharged six-cylinder. As you might guess from the name, the M235i incorporates some of the performance hardware from BMW's Motorsport division cars but is meant to be more forgiving than something like an M3. Adaptive suspension damping is a big key to its best-of-both-worlds personality, as the 2014 BMW M235i handles well enough to entertain you on the weekend, while remaining comfortable and easy to drive during the week. We're glad to see BMW offer this feature as an option on the 228i.
On the whole, the 2014 BMW 2 Series is a deeply likable car. It feels like an upgrade over the 1 Series in both interior space and overall quality, and it stacks up well with other entry-level luxury cars. Its nearest rivals are the 2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA-Class and the Audi A3 and S3, which will be early 2015 models. Both the Mercedes and Audi have four doors, but other than this difference, they offer very similar combinations of performance, fuel economy and premium amenities.
Meanwhile, shoppers on a stricter budget will find that the Acura ILX sedan offers lots of standard features and a very comfortable ride. If you're zeroed in on the M235i model, there really aren't many comparable alternatives (other than the CLA45 and S3 sedans), as most similarly priced coupes are larger and less athletic. The Infiniti Q60 is worth a look, though, given its strong V6 engine and sharp handling. In the end, if you're looking for a sporty entry-luxury coupe that drives well and looks the part, be sure to check out the BMW 2 Series.
Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options
The 2014 BMW 2 Series is a two-door coupe with seating for four. There are two trim levels: 228i and M235i.
The 228i comes equipped with 17-inch alloy wheels, automatic headlights, foglights, rain-sensing wipers, cruise control, automatic dual-zone climate control, leatherette (premium vinyl) upholstery, a tilt-and-telescoping leather-wrapped steering wheel with paddle shifters, eight-way manual front seats, and a 60/40-split-folding rear seat. The standard electronics array includes Bluetooth phone connectivity, BMW's iDrive infotainment interface with a 6.5-inch display and a 10-speaker sound system with a CD player, HD radio, a USB/iPod interface and an auxiliary audio jack.
Aside from its more powerful six-cylinder engine, the M235i adds 18-inch wheels, summer performance tires (with an increased top-speed limiter), adaptive suspension damping, sportier variable-ratio steering, upgraded brakes, a sport exhaust system, an aerodynamic kit, a rear spoiler, adaptive xenon headlights and a sunroof. Inside, you'll find 10-way power front sport seats (with driver memory functions), upgraded interior trim and a racier looking M Sport steering wheel.
For the 228i, there are optional M Sport and Dynamic Handling packages. The M Sport package adds 18-inch wheels, summer performance tires, a rear spoiler, sport front seats and an M Sport steering wheel. The Dynamic Handling package (which requires the M Sport package) adds the adaptive suspension dampers and the upgraded steering and brakes.
Available on both trims, the Premium package adds keyless ignition and entry, auto-dimming mirrors, leather upholstery, interior ambient lighting and satellite radio. It also adds a sunroof and power front seats to the 228i. The Sport Line (only available on the 228i and not available with M Sport) mimics most of the Premium package contents and adds different 18-inch wheels, your choice of wood or aluminum trim, special upholstery and a lowered, sport-tuned suspension (which doesn't include the adaptive dampers).
The Technology package is available on all BMW 2 Series coupes and adds a higher-resolution 8.8-inch display screen, an upgraded iDrive controller with a touchpad (allowing freehand text entry), a navigation system, Bluetooth audio connectivity, BMW Apps (a suite of apps for iPhones and select Android devices including traffic, Pandora and Facebook) and BMW Remote Services (which allows Apple and Android users to lock the car remotely and turn on the climate control, among various other tasks).
The Driver Assistance package adds parking sensors and a rearview camera. The Driver Assistance Plus package requires the Driver Assistance and Technology packages and adds a lane departure warning system and a forward collision warning/mitigation system with pedestrian detection. The Cold Weather package adds headlight washers to the 228i (already standard on the M235i) and adds a heated steering wheel and heated front seats to both 2 Series coupes. Finally, there's a Lighting package available for the 228i with the adaptive xenon headlights.
A mechanical limited-slip differential is available as an à la carte add-on for the M235i.
Powertrains and Performance
The rear-wheel-drive 2014 BMW 2 Series offers a choice of two engines. An eight speed automatic transmission is standard with both, while a six speed manual is a no-cost option.
The base BMW 228i has a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine that produces 240 hp and 255 pound-feet of torque. EPA-estimated fuel economy for the 228i with the automatic transmission is 28 mpg combined (23 city/36 highway).
For more power, the M235i has a 3.0-liter inline six-cylinder engine making 320 hp and 330 lb-ft of torque. BMW estimates that it will go from zero to 60 mph in 4.8 seconds with the automatic transmission.
All 2 Series coupes have an automatic stop-start function, which shuts off the engine when you're stopped to save fuel. Automatic-transmission-equipped cars also have a launch control feature.
Standard safety equipment on the 2014 BMW 2 Series includes four-wheel antilock disc brakes (with brake drying and standby feature), traction and stability control and hill-start assist for manual-equipped cars. Front-seat side airbags, full-length side curtain airbags and driver/passenger knee airbags are also standard. Optional safety equipment includes front and rear parking sensors, a rearview camera, a lane departure warning system and a frontal collision warning/mitigation system that can automatically apply the brakes if objects or pedestrians are in the car's path.
Interior Design and Special Features
Inside, the 2 Series has a simple, functional design that's made more endearing by the use of high-end materials. The dashboard and center console are clear of extra buttons and clutter. Instead, you find BMW's iDrive system, which controls one of two available displays. When the car is equipped with navigation, you get a crisp 8.8-inch display, which is definitely the one we prefer.
While the iDrive system looks good and responds quickly to commands, we've found it takes some getting used to. Compared with competitors' electronics interfaces, you'll often have to take a few more steps to reach the desired functions, so it's worthwhile to get acquainted with the system before hitting the road.
Even though the 2 Series is longer, wider and taller than the 1 Series it replaces, it is still a compact coupe. The rear seat is too small for adults and is best reserved for children or extra luggage. Trunk capacity is a respectable 13.8 cubic feet, and the rear seats fold to allow transport of longer items.
The 2014 BMW 2 Series coupe's selectable drive modes, coupled with its available adaptive suspension, make for a very smooth ride, whether you're driving over the most pitted city streets, flat highway stretches or winding mountain passes. Based on our experience with other BMWs that have the 2.0-liter turbo engine, we expect the 228i to be plenty quick, although we haven't yet driven this model. We have spent considerable time in the M235i, however, and acceleration is quite strong, with more than enough power on tap to match the feel and responsiveness of the old 1 Series M Coupe. The eight-speed automatic transmission is quick to respond to commands, making for easy passing maneuvers and good manners in traffic.
While the M235i isn't quite the high-performance hard-core machine we've come to expect from cars like the M3 and the M5, it is a much easier car to drive on a daily basis, which only adds to its appeal. An item of note for some shoppers is the optional limited-slip rear differential. When you're driving briskly on roads with tight turns, the M235i uses a standard brake-based system to apply engine power to whichever of the rear wheels has more grip; with the optional limited-slip differential, power can be reapportioned between the rear wheels without brake intervention. Although hard-core drivers are likely to prefer the latter setup, even with the brake-based setup, the M235i is very well balanced and fun to drive quickly on a twisty back road.